Assi Timah: A Chance to Give Part Two

    Tuesday night we brought you the story of a local respiratory therapist and his passion for helping children at UF Health.

    Now we take you to Africa where he's making the difference in the lives of others thousands of miles away.

    Many of these children in Batibo, a small town in Cameroon have never had candy in their entire lives.

    "Santa Claus going through the village sidewalks to get to the Chief's palace, hopefully everyone is adamant and ready to receive all the gifts that are coming from the United States of America."

    When Assi Timah arrived in Cameroon this past Christmas he came bearing gifts, toys and sweets for the children.

    "Just to see the smiles, the happiness on their faces on Christmas Eve, on the 23rd of Christmas and just to see these kids coming up it was very hard for me to just watch them being excited about just the minimum of things that is not a big deal for us," says Assi Timah, a respiratory therapist at UF Health Shands.

    And for the villages in Batibo, he brought something most people don't even think to ask for.

    "When people ask me what can they give you for Christmas in America, I say can you please give me money, I want to buy food for the people in my village because the biggest thing people struggle with during Christmas in Africa is food," he says.

    Through donations Assi was able to build two new toilets for two villages back home.

    And now he's trying to build more toilets to help prevent the spread of diseases from unsanitary conditions.

    Assi says with his organization A Chance to Give International, it's his dream to eventually give the kids in one village a school where they can all learn.

    "I feel like if you educate more kids in Africa, all you need to do is give them the material, if they have the material they are happy," says Assi.

    And it's basic materials that we take for granted in the U.S. that will keep kids in Africa in school.

    "They go to school without shoes, they have no shoes cause I used to go to school, you just walk barefoot and for hours on hot rocks, you know if they just have a book, they have a uniform, because if they don't have a uniform they get kicked out of class as well," he says.

    Assi says he wants to be able to provide a school that will be a safe home for kids with help from his organization.

    "A place where kids that are unfortunate can come and have a meal and get an education and be trained vocationally and they can go back to being independent," says Assi.

    Assi has been helping sick patients at UF Health Shands and through donations to A Chance to Give International he's working to make a difference not only in the lives here in Gainesville, but those living hundred of thousands of miles away.

    If you would like to help Assi Timah's non-profit A Chance to Give International, you can click here.

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